Wireless in the world

An ongoing Touch theme is about making invisible wireless technologies visible, in order to better understand and communicate with and about them (see a Graphic Language for RFID, Dashed lines and Fictional radio spaces).

Right now I am sitting near fourteen objects sending and receiving radio signals, from Oyster cards to mobile phones and wireless routers in a multitude of overlapping and competing fields. Here we are creating communicative material that uses dashed-line abstractions to visualise the presence of wireless technologies in the everyday environment. What if we could see every field produced by an Oyster card or NFC enabled mobile phone for instance?

Wireless visualisation street

Using simple abstractions such as the dashed line and the kinds of visual language that we have previously proposed for RFID allow us to quickly communicate aspects such as the spatial properties of wireless technologies that are often overlooked. I’ve been using these images in presentations for a while, to sensitise designers and students to the spatial and embodied properties of RFID, Bluetooth and WIFI.

We are also experimenting with video, where the visualisations are part of an environment in a moving sequence. This is looking like a useful technique for making visual explanations of invisible materials.

Here are more images:

Wireless rfid visualisation street

NFC phones and contactless cards.

Wireless mobile visualisation street

NFC phones.

Wireless wifi visualisation street

Wifi and bluetooth.

Wireless poster visualisation street

An NFC-enabled bus timetable.

Wireless poster visualisation

An NFC-enabled ‘smart poster’.

Wireless Oyster visualisation

An Oyster card reader and cards

Related things:

  1. New film: Wireless in the World 2 In this film, Wireless in the world 2, simple visualisations of radio ‘spaces’ are overlaid into urban spaces. The film has been made as a follow up to this video experiment and has been......
  2. Nokia releases first mass-market NFC handset Nokia today announced the 6131 NFC phone, the first integrated NFC handset that will (operators willing) be available to the public. Previously NFC had been confined to ageing handsets like the 5140 and 3220......
  3. Fictional radio-spaces In spring 2007 interaction design students at AHO participated in a research-driven course called Tangible interactions that investigated themes around RFID, NFC and the Touch project. This is one of the projects that emerged......
  4. Images of touch interfaces I’m happy to say that with great contributions from Nicolas Nova, Matt Jones and many others, the pool of images of ‘touch interfaces’ on Flickr is growing nicely. I originally asked for contributions in......
  5. The dashed line in use In previous work I have advocated for the use of dashed lines, my paper for Mobile HCI 2006 [pdf] represents Touch-based interactions with dashed lines, and work on ubicomp iconography uses the dashed line......

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One Comment

  1. Posted 23 March 2009 at 3:52 | Permalink

    One thing I think remarkable in your photos is that it makes obvious not only the radio zone around us, but that it is objects we are holding which broadcast information and not humans. It creates an opacity layer which is quite interesting and playful.

    We haven’t (yet) gone the road of mass inclusion of rfid chips under our skin. Though that could come, it is becoming more and more mandatory for animals (cats, dogs) travelling from one country to another to have an RFID chip. Testing on animals first. :)

10 Trackbacks

  1. By Leapfroglog - links for 2009-03-17 on 17 March 2009 at 14:00

    [...] Links on 17 March 2009 with no comments Wireless in the world Timo superimposes dashed circles on still and moving images to highlight the spatial and embodied [...]

  2. By Links 2009-03-17 - Adam Crowe on 18 March 2009 at 2:31

    [...] Touch — Wireless in the world "Here we are creating communicative material that uses dashed-line abstractions to visualise the presence of wireless technologies in the everyday environment." videos visualization leaky surveillance radio bluetooth wireless rfid spimes everyware design [...]

  3. [...] must have been a pain for the guys at Nearfield to draw all these little dotted circles, but it’s an effective way of highlighting the quantity of wi-fi devices of one sort or another [...]

  4. By Visualizing Wireless Signals - PSFK.com on 19 March 2009 at 20:20

    [...] [via Touch Blog] [...]

  5. [...] Wireless in the world Timo trys to create graphic language for making-visible wireless technologies: "An ongoing Touch theme is about making invisible wireless technologies visible, in order to better understand and communicate with and about them (see a Graphic Language for RFID, Dashed lines and Fictional radio spaces)." (tags: technology mobile ubicomp visualisation nfc wireless ubiquity diagram cosmopolitics) [...]

  6. By numerimatch.com on 18 April 2009 at 16:45

    Wireless in the world…

    Présence du wireless dans nos vies … Test …...

  7. By » Wireless in the world sumit/blog on 1 March 2010 at 1:20
  8. [...] Wireless in the world as part of the Touch project, Timo Arnall makes visibible the objects sending and receiving radio [...]

  9. [...] people’s experience of the urban space The wireless infrastructure subtly highlighted in Wireless in the World (2009) project fashions sentient and reactive environments through information layers that are [...]

  10. By TNW Polska on 10 August 2010 at 1:50

    [...] nearfield.org [...]

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